COVID-19 is not a secret and as businesses, we don’t need to pretend that it’s not happening. Our customers, clients, and guests are all well aware of the way the world is changing. As you make shifts in how you operate, what you expect from customers, and what you are doing for them, maintaining open and honest communication is pivotal to continuing your business and attracting loyal, interested customers.
Be Honest About Your Plan
It might be scary to talk about your business closing certain operations, but in 2020 we have all become pretty used to businesses closing down, restricting typical practices, and adjusting what “business as normal” looks like. What matters most is communicating exactly when you are open, how you are open, and what “open” looks like for you and your business.
Customers are ready to look for that information on your social media and website, so be sure it is available to them. For many of our clients, we dedicated an entire website page to COVID-19 FAQs and put it right in the main navigation of their menu. We link to this page often from social media posts and email newsletters, always making sure the information is up to date and easily accessible. Be honest about what you are doing, and make the information available to those who might be looking for it. The last thing your customers need right now is confusion.
Avoid Posing as a Health Expert
We are not, as businesses, the expert on health and safety. When creating images, posters, or sharing information about your COVID-19 plan and response, avoid positioning yourself as the expert. We like to link to the Vermont Department of Health to ensure that people always have access to accurate, up to date information from those who actually know best.
Health is Not Political
Some businesses may choose to engage in political conversations, but for some, it may feel like a slippery slope to make policies or discuss what is happening in the world. What we know for sure? Staying healthy is not political. Your customers deserve an excellent standard of sanitation from you all the time, and right now there is an extra need for to attention to detail in that regard.
Offer information about what santiization practices you are following and anything new you are implementing it. One thing to be careful of? Make sure you don’t make it seem like health and sanitation are new practices. We don’t want customers thinking, “Were they not always doing that?” Add language like, “in addition to our usual sanitization practices” or “We always maintain a high standard of sanitization but have added…”
Stay Hopeful and Thankful
Hope and gratitude are two of the most valuable tools we can use right now, and always. As businesses, we are often used to posting on social media and using our marketing platforms as ways to promote our product and push sales. However, human kindness goes a long way, especially now. If you are on pause, if you’re busy as ever, or if you are unsure what the future holds, just thank your community and your audience for supporting you and sticking by your side.
Customers have been working hard to continue supporting local businesses, and thanking them for that loyalty is a great way to stay engaged with your audience. Above all, stay honest and communicative. The world needs some positivity, so continue to be an example to your community during this time.